How To Write Better Facebook Ads

Here are some often overlooked but very important points for getting dramatically better results with Facebook ads. We’ll be looking at both the ad as well as the landing page receiving the traffic from the ad.

We’re going over stuff like:

  • How long should the ad be?
  • How do you create a compelling call to action?
  • What’s the proper sequence for the information you’re sharing?
  • What’s the right structure for Facebook ad copy?

Then we take these concepts and go step-by-step through a live example.

These tips are not for general awareness ads. Everything we’re about to talk about is in the context of ads where the goal is to get a conversion. We’re focusing on how to write engaging ads and create landing pages that convert so you actually get the leads you want.

If you want to improve your conversion rates and get better results from Facebook ads, this one is for you.

The Ad’s Only Goal Is To Get The Click

The only goal for the ad is to get the click.

It may seem obvious to say that, but from experience coaching hundreds of people I can tell it is not as obvious as it seems. One thing that tends to tank an ad’s click-through rate is diving too deep into teaching or selling.

If you’re landing page is a registration page for a webinar or an invitation to book a consulting phone call save all the teaching for the webinar or the phone call. The ad has only one job and that’s to get the viewer to click it.

Sequence Is Very Important

It is very important to expose your audience to the information you want them to receive in the correct order. You can have great information but if you share it in the wrong order it will lose all of its effectiveness.

For example, if you’re getting ready to go out on a date you don’t put your awesome outfit on until after you take your shower. You need the shower and the clothes, but the order is really important. Shower first then clothes. Do it the other way around and you’ve got a mess.

In the same way, your teaching can be fantastic, but if you do it too soon it will be out of context and people will bounce because they haven’t bought into the relevancy yet.

Curiosity, Relevancy, Action

The order you’re shooting for is to first build curiosity, then provide the framework of relevancy, finally inspire action.

The ad is all about curiosity, the landing page provides the relevancy framework, your call to action inspires your lead to take the action you have offered to them.

Ad Structure Summary

  • Save the teaching (or your sales pitch) for later.
  • Build curiosity by presenting a clear problem that you’re solving
  • The ad is not supposed to convince people to buy, it entices people to click
  • The ad copy should qualify the audience so everyone knows who you’re talking to and who you’re NOT talking to.

Present the problem you’re solving. Let people know that you’ve got a great way to fix it. If they don’t click to find out more they are missing out on something cool.

Ad Length

I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars running ads, mostly for coaching programs and online learning. The price point for these courses has been between $3,000 and $10,000. So, if you’re creating ads for more impulsive purchase decisions you can probably get away with much shorter ad copy.

With all of that in mind, I’ve found the “sweet spot” to be roughly 10 sentences or about 3 – 5 little paragraphs. This provides enough space to write a tiny little story that makes it clear what problem you’re offering to solve, who you’re talking to, and who you’re disqualifying.

For example, for us at DoubleStack, we run ads to reach self-employed web designers. We’re not trying to reach web developers in general. We’ve got a specific audience in mind because if you’re writing code for a corporation, you probably don’t care about the business development and marketing content we create. On the other hand, if you’re self-employed and responsible for finding your own clients and you’re sick of undervaluing yourself and you’re tired of relying on word-of-mouth referrals for low-budget, one-off projects you’re going to love us.

Let’s take a look at a real-life example that someone in our Building High-Value WordPress Sites Facebook group was asking for help with.

Ad Text
Celebrate the New Year with the New You, get $15 off your first session at Mindful Movements Pilates.

Take $15 off today!

The Landing Page

This is a screenshot of the landing page.

Just out of view at the bottom, there’s a quick form to submit your email address so you can get the  $15 coupon.

Things I Like

The Image: I think the image is eye-catching. I would have chosen brighter colors, but it’s not too busy and the image immediately suggests some form of exercise or fitness which is consistent with the ad’s topic.

Consistency: Since the ad and the landing page have the same image, immediately you can tell that the landing page and the ad go together and you’re in the right place.

Timing: The “new year” aspect of the ad makes it seem timely and current since this ad is running in January.

Copy Is To The Point: Both the ad copy and the landing page copy are concise. It’s easy to read and get to the point. They’re offering $15 off one session of a pilates class. It’s clear what the offer is.

Clicks: Perhaps most important to note, I was told that this ad was getting clicks, but there were zero conversions. Nobody entered their email address for the coupon.

How Can We Improve The Ad?

Putting myself in the shoes of a potential lead, I read through the ad and have a lot of unanswered questions.

Targeting: The ad copy is not qualifying the leads. Who are we talking to? Is this a women’s only class? Can you be a beginner? What age are people in this class? Am I going to fit in?

Problem: What problem is the going to solve for me? There’s no reason given for why I should care about this ad. It’s only going to appeal to me if I’m actively looking for a pilates class. We WANT the ad to attract people who can be helped by pilates even if they’ve never been to a class and even if they don’t even know what pilates is.

Outcome: I don’t know what to expect from attending the class. Is this supposed to help me lose weight? Increase flexibility? Improve my golf swing? If you’re not going to help me solve a problem at least let me know what the goal is.

Trust: Who am I putting my trust in? There’s nothing about the business or their credentials in the ad. Is the person in the picture the instructor or is that just a stock photo? Is that really the studio I’m going to be in?

Authority: Why should I work with this instructor instead of someone else? Is there anything special or unique about the way they view pilates or fitness in general that would underscore their authority in this space?

Answering (at least some of) these questions would make a big improvement in the click-through rate for this ad. I’m not going to click if I’ve got too many questions about is being offered. I’m just going to assume it’s not for me and move on.

How Can We Improve The Landing Page?

In the mind of the advertiser, it probably looks like the landing page is very clear about what you’re getting. Submit your email address and get a $15 coupon for your first session. But, in the mind of the visitor, there are still many unknowns. If there are too many unknowns I don’t sit around trying to figure them out. I just assume this isn’t for me and I bounce.

For example…

  • What am I getting myself into? What’s the commitment I’m expected to make?
  • Is this a private session or a group class?
  • Is this in person or virtual?
  • How long do the sessions last?
  • If I want to continue, what’s the normal price?
  • Am I going to fit in? Do I need to have experience or can I be a beginner?

All of those questions are floating around in my mind making me feel like this must not be for me and leading me to bounce.

The Popcorn Journey Problem

Suppose I’m interested enough to try to answer some of my own questions. The only thing I can do is start popcorn-bouncing around the site in search of answers. I’ll go to the About page – maybe check out the Virtual Studio – check out the Contact Us page to see where they’re located, etc.

OK, now how do I get back to the $15 offer page? Click the “back” button a bunch of times?

You need to have all of the answers on the same page. Once the visitor leaves the page it is highly unlikely for them to return to it.

Developing A Strong Call To Action

The current landing page is designed to collect email addresses. Once you provide an email address you are then sent a coupon and invited to call in and schedule your first session. Therefore, in this example, the call to action is simply designed to collect email addresses. But, is this what you really want people to do? Maybe. But why not have the call to action be more meaningful? For example, schedule you’re own appointment online? Or, at least schedule a phone call? My advice is to have a stronger call to action that represents a more committed move towards engaging with the business.

But for now, let’s assume that we really do just want to use this landing page to collect email addresses. With the goal of collecting email addresses, create a lead magnet that is interesting, immediately valuable, and builds your authority. Offering money (or coupons) isn’t any of those things.

Avoid Using Money/Coupons As Your Lead Magnet

Unless you’re running an ecommerce site, avoid offering a coupon as your lead magnet. Coupons on sites that are not online stores tend to be bad lead magnets because:

  • They are not immediately valuable.
    You only care about the coupon if you’ve already decided to come in. If you haven’t yet decided if this is the right thing for you, you don’t care about the coupon yet.
  • They are not interesting.
    There’s no curiosity hook in a coupon. Instead, you want to offer something where people are thinking, “Oh, yeah! Tell me more about that!”
  • They devalue your offer. 
    It’s not uncommon for people to use a “first visit coupon” and have that be their only visit. First visit coupons set a low price expectation making the regular price feel too expensive. Think about cable TV service. They offer you a deep discount upfront but when the normal price kicks in you feel like you’re getting abused.
  • Your market is too broad.
    If the only thing you can think of that would appeal to everyone in your target audience is money (or a coupon) it suggests your audience is too broad. Narrow down your audience and you’ll be able to think of cool stuff they’d be interested in. In general, if you’re trying to write something writer’s block suggests your audience is too broad.

Pick A Target Audience

Out of all of the things we’re talking about, this one is the most important. Pick an audience and describe a problem that they have that you can solve. 

This ad is about Pilates so create a list of some of the things Pilates can do for you. As you list the benefits of Pilates, it is natural to associate some of those benefits with a particular persona who might be looking for the benefit.

Here are a few examples:

  • Relief from lower back pain caused by desk jobs
  • Rehab for sports injuries (maybe even pick a specific sport)
  • Improved posture for women over 40
  • Neck pain relief for men over 40 with computer-based jobs
  • Exercise for people with knee problems
  • Add yards to your golf drive
  • Get a beach-ready body

Ok, so now pick one and talk specifically to that audience. Let’s pick the beach-ready body one.

Get Your Beach-Ready Body

Now that we know who we’re talking to and what they want, it is much easier to think of content that would meet our three criteria for an effective lead magnet:

  • Interesting
  • Immediately valuable
  • Builds authority

Create a few different lead magnets and see which one performs the best. Here are a few example titles for content that might work great for this “beach-ready body” audience.

  • Get my top 10 low-carb dessert recipes
  • 5 exercises to tone your butt while you’re answering emails
  • Cardio vs HIIT vs Pilates – when to do what for a beach-ready butt (nice rhyme ?)

The Value Of Targeting

The big objection to targeting is that people feel like they’re cutting themselves off from valuable leads, but you’re not. You are not pigeonholing your business. You are just creating targeted marketing campaigns. You can have as many marketing campaigns as you want and target whomever you please.

Now that we’ve got a target audience in mind look at all the benefits:

  • It’s easy to know what to say and what content to create that will be valuable and interesting
  • You can describe a specific outcome that people want to build their curiosity and interest
  • You’re tapping into the fear of missing out to spur action. For example, if you don’t know about these low-carb desserts everybody else is going to be losing weight and eating chocolate and you’re going to be stuck starving yourself.

Ad Copy Length

Over the past three years, I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars running Facebook ads for relatively high-ticket ($3,000 to $10,000) services and products. I’ve found that the length of content that creates the best results is about 10 sentences or three to five little paragraphs.

If the copy is too short you often end up paying for clicks from people who aren’t really interested. If the copy is too long, people don’t read it at all because it’s too overwhelming.

The “Goldilocks Zone” is about 10 sentences. That gives you enough space to write a tiny little story that makes it clear what problem you’re offering to solve, who you’re talking to, and who you’re disqualifying.

Updated Ad

Having just said that the best ad length is about 10 sentences, I’m keeping with the very short text format of the original ad but still applying the concepts we just discussed about targeting a specific audience with a specific problem.

Ad Text: 
We’re on the other side of the holidays and we’ve all got a few pounds to lose, right? Now is the time to start building your beach-ready body.

Beach Ready Bodies For People With Real Jobs and Busy Lives
How to build your beach-ready body even while answering emails at work.

Then we can have this ad lead to a landing page where we build interest and underscore our authority so we can start collecting email addresses from people we know we can serve and get results for.

See how picking a problem and offering a result helps with everything – targeting, conversions, lead magnets, ad copy, etc?

The Authority Framework

Discover the counterintuitive strategies I’ve developed over the last 20 years for landing serious, growth-oriented web design clients.

This is a modern approach to solving the most frustrating problems of running your own web design business.